Blog 16 June 2019

A good call to reduce pensioner readmission rates

by Richard Farrell


16th June, 2019

Phone checks on pensioners after a hospital stay can cut readmission rates by almost half with an appointment reminder call centre solution

Leaving hospital can be a stressful time, and patients often have unanswered questions. There’s an alarming trend in emergency readmissions. A 25% increase in the past 4 years.

It’s no shock that elderly people are more likely than most to be readmitted to hospital – a sizable 15% of over 65s are readmitted within 28 days. In 2017-18, emergency readmissions to English hospitals hit around 865,000. That figure costs the NHS a staggering £2.4bn per year.

Making the right call 

New research shows that readmission rates for over-65s drop significantly when they receive a follow-up call from nurses the day after a hospital stay. It can make significant savings for the NHS in return. Figures published in June 2019 by Aston University show that real savings are possible. One call makes a big difference.

Lead Researcher, Dr James Brown, confirmed that “A simple contact and follow-up service can reduce readmissions of over 65-year-olds by 41%”. 

Heart of England Foundation NHS Trust (HEFT) Practitioners in Solihull led the care pathway redesign. Their call centre solution now carries out follow-up visits or phone calls within 24-72 hours of discharge for patients with social care needs who are at risk of readmission.

The tech is already there

NHS Trusts with Liberty Converse, our call centre solution, already have the tools to manage these calls. This can be used to reduce their NHS DNA rates (did not attend). Supporting Nursing with discharge follow up calls simply extends the use of technology that’s already in place.

Making it work

Data is collected in just the same way as for appointment reminders. Just this time, the output is from the Discharge functionality within Patient Administration System (PAS). A daily contact campaign is created and exported for system use. A phone call may be the primary contact for over 65s, but it’s also possible to send a text message or email. 

Hospitals could also use this technique to reach a wider audience – so that everyone knows they are able to ask for assistance, not just the over 65s. Every avoided readmission is a saving.

It’s easy

It’s an easy process and has standardised Information Governance. 

Busy nurses will automatically receive a list of specific patients requiring calls. The easy to use interface also ‘pops-up’ any relevant patient data – that way nurses are prepared and able to have useful conversations. Making calls is simply by click-to-dial. Retries and rescheduled calls are also really easy to manage.

Always a human voice

It’s easy for older patients who have just been discharged from hospital to feel alone. But with Campaigns, hospitals can ensure that they always answer the phone to a friendly human voice.

If you need to support your over 65 patient community with a discharge follow-up, just ask us how. Your call centre solution may be in closer reach than you think.

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